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Colorado SB 11-168: The health care Authority will enforce your “cooperation”

The Colorado health care authoritarians like Sen. Irene Aguilar have dusted off 2009′s HB 1273 and have introduced it as Senate Bill 168.   But don’t call it “single payer.”  Or a “public option.” It’s a “cooperative,” that you must pay for. It’s “A bill for an act concerning the creation of the Colorado health care authority for the purpose of designing a health care cooperative.”

Unlike the 2009 version, this year’s bill does not refer to itself as the “Colorado Guaranteed Health Care Act.” This is wise, as politicians cannot “guarantee” health care.  Their meddling in people’s choices about health care and insurance have only created the mess they claim to be able to fix.

But they choice of the words “authority” and “cooperative” is amusing.  In other words, cooperate or else!  Or else the authorities will punish you.

A Denver Daily News article says that

Coloradans would be allowed to keep their primary insurance provider and instead use the cooperative as a supplemental policy, but proponents [opponents?] say most Coloradans would choose to end their other insurance because the cooperative would cover all needs.

This sounds like “if you like you’re plan, you can keep it.”  And further, the bill states:

The mission of the authority is to design the Colorado health care cooperative (cooperative) to be the benefits administrator and payer for health care services.

Call me paranoid, but is the above saying that the cooperative to be “the benefits administrator and payer for health care services”? Not “a benefits administrator and payer,” but the, as in, the one and only.

The Denver Daily News article also states:

The cooperative is being called “nongovernmental” because it would be governed by a member-elected board, though critics argue that the cooperative is governmental in nature.

But the bill states (emphasis added):

There is hereby created the Colorado health care authority, that shall be a body corporate and a political subdivision of the state, that shall not be an agency of state government, and that shall not be subject to administrative direction or control by any department, commission, board, bureau, or agency of the state.

The authority and its corporate existence shall continue until terminated by law …

This sounds rather governmental to me, especially since it’s funded in part by taxes. As the bill states:

The board shall seek input from and collaborate with the department of public health and environment, the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, and the General Assembly to seek all waivers, exemptions, and agreements from the federal government so that all current levels of funding from the federal government to the state, counties, or local governments for the provision and payment of health care services may be transferred to the authority …

To repeat my critique of the 2009 bill:

For anyone, like Sen. Irene Aguilar, who thinks the Colorado Health Care Authority is a great idea, then be entrepreneurial about it.  Set up a business plan, find investors, and then find customers who are willing to pay the Authority for its services.  Health care cooperatives already exist, after all. I mean, if it’s so good, why must you force people to fund it?

As I’ve written before:

Did you know that non-profit (and non-government) insurers dominate markets in many states? Further, non-profit health co-ops already exist. Health Partners, Inc. in Minneapolis and the Group Health Cooperative in Seattle each have more than a half-million members. Such co-ops would be more common if government got out of the way. Current law prohibits member-based mutual insurance organizations from operating as non-profits.

See also: Government health co-op: public plan in disguise?

And check out Jon Caldara‘s take:

[T]here is yet another abomination coming down the pike: “universal” health care coverage for Colorado. Or as I like to call it, “universal unicorns for Colorado.” Because let’s be completely honest here, that’s what “universal” health care is – a pie in the sky fantasy that cannot work in the real world.

Read the whole post: A Pipe Dream Referred.